CHICAGO -- Never in their long history had the Dodgers won a 1-0 game in the postseason on the strength of a home run. And despite all you have heard about their hard luck, never had the Cubs lost such a game, either.
So Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez made some history with his second-inning swat on Saturday, leading off the second inning against the Cubs' Kyle Hendricks with a homer that won Game 2 of the National League Championship Series and evened things at one game apiece. That it was Gonzalez who provided the game's biggest hit was not a surprise.
"That's why he's who he is," Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson said. "That's how he's made his career."
Gonzalez also produced the Dodgers' biggest hit the night before in Game 1, a two-out, two-run single off a 102-mph fastball from Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman that briefly tied the game in the top of the eighth inning. The Dodgers lost when Miguel Montero smacked a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the inning and Dexter Fowler followed with a solo home run, but Gonzalez framed that night as a positive.
"They know we can beat them," he said.
In his first at-bat of Game 2, Gonzalez backed that up.
"First at-bat, nobody on base, I wanted to be aggressive," he said. "And I saw that he … attacked us with fastballs early, trying to establish his fastball, knowing that he was going to go to his changeup later in the game. So, I just wanted to get a fastball and try to elevate it. Thank God I was able to hit it in the air.
"I felt pretty good about it once I hit it, but I still ran knowing that it could have easily not gone over the wall. So once it went over the wall, you know, it's a good feeling."
It was Gonzalez's second home run in this postseason and the seventh of his career. The homer, which qualified as a Barrel, had an exit velocity of 100.8 mph, a launch angle of 30 degrees and traveled a projected 384 feet, according to Statcast™.
The home run came on a cutter from Hendricks, who allowed only one home run in the regular season on that pitch. And while Gonzalez is obviously known as a hitter who drives the ball the opposite way, this season only four of his 18 home runs were to the opposite field.
Hendricks was not particularly sharp, evidenced by his four walks in 5 1/3 innings. That matched his season high, set in two starts before the All-Star break.
He may have been pitching too "fine," catcher Montero said. That can happen when Clayton Kershaw is the opposing starter
"With that guy going on the other side, that's what you have to expect going into a game like that," Hendricks said of the close contest. "I wasn't sharp really and my fastball command wasn't great. I battled through it. I didn't get deep in the game like I wanted to."
The Dodgers are now in the equivalent of a best-of-five series with three home games.
"It was huge," Gonzalez said. "You definitely don't want to go [down] 2-0. I know that we came in here wanting both, but taking one is good and we'll be ready on Tuesday to try to take the series lead."
Adam McCalvy has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001. MLB.com reporter Ken Gurnick contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.